Nine “mind tips” that will help your writing

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world for material to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post offering mind tips for creatives…

Eric Maisel is an American psychotherapist, teacher, and creativity coach who grew up in Brooklyn. He is the author of more than 40 books, including: Fearless Creating (1995), The Van Gogh Blues (2002) and Coaching the Artist Within (2005). 

He also publishes an occasional newsletter about creativity, and the most recent issue caught my attention. Headlined, 9 Mind Tips for Creatives, the post delves into the issue of negative self-talk in considerable — and helpful — detail.

Says Maisel: “Creating depends on having a mind quiet enough to allow ideas to bubble up. Living a successful, healthy life as an artist requires that your self-talk align with your goals and your aspirations. Your job is to quiet your mind and extinguish negative self-talk.” Here is a summary of his nine tips:

1. Recognize that you are the only one who can get a grip on your mind. You must mind you.

2. Recognize that you don’t have to accept a thought just because you had it.

3. Listen to what you say to yourself. It is better to hear them and deal with your negative thoughts than to let them cycle endlessly.

4. Decide if what you are saying to yourself serves you. Countless true thoughts do not serve us.

5. When you decide that a thought doesn’t serve you, dismiss it. 

6. When a thought that doesn’t serve you continues to linger, actively combat it. 

7. After you’ve dismissed a thought, then think of another thought that does serve you. Creating thought substitutes is an important part of the process.

8. Get in the habit of extinguishing unproductive self-talk before it fully arises. Replace it with positive thoughts that serve you better.

9. Engage in active cognitive support. This means you create the thoughts that you want to be thinking and then start thinking them. These thoughts might include:

  •  “I write every single morning.”
  • “I’m going to succeed.”
  • “I know how to make meaning.”
  • “I’m lavishing my love and attention on my novel.”
  • “I’m not afraid of process.”
  • “I show up.”

If any of these suggestions speak to you, then be sure to read the entire post.

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